NBA exec compares Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Jordan-Pippen duo
Star players have been joining forces with one another with regularity over the past several years in the NBA, but defensive ability could be what sets the 2019-20 Los Angeles Clippers apart from other so-called superteams. In fact, at least one NBA executive thinks the Clippers could have the best two-way superstar pairing since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Ben Golliver of the Washington Post spoke with several executives, coaches and scouts about the upcoming season, and most of them believe the Clippers are poised to win a championship. The main reason for that is the ability of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to both score and defend against elite players. One exec said he can’t remember a pair of two-way wings this good since the Chicago Bulls dynasty years.
“I’m not saying Kawhi Leonard is Michael Jordan and I’m not saying Paul George is Scottie Pippen,” the executive said. “But you have to go all the way back to those guys to find two [perimeter players] who can score the ball and hound their men like this.”
Another exec said the Clippers will have a “rare luxury” of being able to alternate Leonard and George on an opposing team’s best player, such as James Harden.
If the Clippers are healthy, it’s hard to imagine any team in the Western Conference being more well-rounded than them. George and Leonard can score at will and are both perennial members of the NBA All-Defensive Team, and Patrick Beverley is also considered one of the best defenders in the league. That should help them get past teams like the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.
One of basketball’s best defensive minds has already compared the Clippers to a team that won a championship with defense, so the opinion is obviously shared by many. Will Leonard and George be Jordan and Pippen? That seems highly unlikely, but the results may be similar in the short-term.